Don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it before, but wrestling and religion don’t mix.
No, wait. That’s a total lie. I know I’ve mentioned it before. In fact, I may have even begun a previous induction with the exact same line. Not only that, but we even had a list of at least ten different wrestling/religion flops in The WrestleCrap Book of Lists!, a list that included Dustin Rhodes’ “WWGD?” character, Reverend D-Von, Brother Love, Friar Ferguson and others. In fact, as I look back over at that list, I am flabbergasted that we’ve yet to induct the angle in which Vince mocked Shawn for his belief in God, to the point that he booked him in a tag match with the Almighty as his partner. If there’s one thing that ever needed to be inducted, it’s that.
But for today, let’s talk about another blasphemous character: Mordecai. You remember him, right? White outfit, white hair, white whiskers? He even had pasty white skin to complete the ensemble. Not quite sure how you achieve such a palor, but this dude had it. I can only assume that somewhere deep inside Titan Tower, in the bowels of WWE Labs they’ve invented a reverse tanning bed.
That’s the only logical explanation.
We were introduced to Mordecai in the best way possible: through a series of vignettes. I’m not joking when I say that; I truly believe that the ideal manner in which to debut a guy is to have a series of skits that air prior to his debut. That way, when he shows up, you know who he is, what he’s about, and what he’s hoping to accomplish.
Look at Kizarny, for instance. I can’t wait to see that guy, after just one vignette of a dude speaking gibberish (yes, I know it’s carny) at a carnival for crying out flavin. Now granted, I know why that is: I am hoping with all hope that I can hope that this Tilt-a-Whirl operator’s finisher is, in fact, called the Elephant Ear. That or The Deep Fried Twinkie.
If it’s not one of those, then don’t even bother debuting him.
Back to Mordecai, who was in his holy sanctuary, proclaiming that we were all a bunch of sinners. He did this while hanging out at what appeared to be a catering table which was flanked with a cup and a sword. Oh, and candles. Lots and lots and lots of candles.
I’m not sure if he was looking for me to go to church or hit the mall and head to the Yankee Candle Company.
Oh, and that sword I mentioned? That wasn’t a joke. The dude brought a GIANT SWORD with him to the ring. Excalibur itself would have shaken in fear at such a weapon.
Now why, precisely, he had this sword was never made fully clear.
He never hit anyone with it.
He never cut anything open.
He never challenged King Arthur to a duel.
While I am just being the ha-ha funny man about the first two items, I’m not about the last one. I mean, Scott Steiner was right there in the company at the same time, chain mail and all.
Come on, WWE Creative! How did you guys let THAT ONE get past you?
Once in the ring, his holiness would go to the corner to kneel and pray. Sometimes he would grab the mic and proclaim that we were all going to hell.
I can only assume that the sin we were committing was wasting a perfectly good Friday night by watching Smackdown.
Guilty as charged, Mordy!
Popular rumor has what WWE was hoping to accomplish with Mordecai was to have him as something as a reverse Undertaker, setting up a literal black hat vs. white hat showdown between the two down the road.
I can see where people would come up with such an idea, but to me he never really resembled that.
The jacked up son of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Harland Sanders maybe, but not an albino Mark Calloway.
Whatever plans WWE had for the guy went out the window, as they felt that his in-ring talent just wasn’t up to snuff. He got sent back down to OVW in an attempt to hone his skills before showing up again in WWE, on ECW to be precise, as everyone’s favorite wrestling vampire, Kevin Thorn.
Man, where were the vignettes that showed THAT transformation? That would have been gold.
Maybe not gold the likes of which if Conan had invaded a KFC, abducted its founder, had ‘relations’ with him, and thus somehow became the world’s first pregnant barbarian… but gold nonetheless.
And now, just for fun, here’s that excerpt from The WrestleCrap Book of Lists! that I mentioned at the beginning of this induction.
Oh yeah, keep religion far, far away from wrestling. You’d think it would just be common sense, just like it is common sense to keep church and state separate.
While there is often debate on exactly how separate they should be, the fact is that here in America, everyone pretty much has the right to worship whatever god they want, so long as they aren’t hanging up kidnapped victims on homemade crosses or cutting them open and extracting blood. Both of which, we’d like to note, have happened in pro wrestling’s version of religion. You see, there’s a reason that wrestling doesn’t air on Sunday mornings. Actually, there is more than one. We can think of ten, in fact…The Top Ten Examples of How Wrestling and Religion Don’t Mix:
10. Mordecai: Promos hyping up the Smackdown arrival of Kevin Fertig had people talking. He was to be known as Mordecai, obviously a religious figure of some sort, dressed completely in white and carrying beads and trinkets of all manner. He even bleached his hair and whiskers white to show the world he was .56% more pure than Ivory soap. And just in case someone didn’t quite catch the subtle innuendo, he’d pray before his matches and cut promos in which he called the audience a bunch of sinners. The idea was that he would be the anti-Undertaker, and that fans would be praying to see this literal battle of dark versus light. Just one problem: his in-ring skills weren’t quite up to snuff, and those behind the scenes didn’t feel comfortable putting him in a main event spot. They thus cast him out (as in, fired him). A short while later, though, he was reborn as Kevin Thorn, a Nosterafu character complete with fangs. Apparently we missed the part in the Bible that detailed cast-out angels being reborn as vampires. Maybe that’s in the yet to be released version 2 of the New Testament.
9. Dustin Rhodes is Holier than Thou: When the great book of wrestling history is penned, there needs to be an entire chapter to Dustin Rhodes’ Goldust character. It wasn’t just some oddball persona, it was a character that ventured into a lot of territory that wrestling had never dared tread. When Goldust first started stalking Razor Ramon, with the storyline being that of a male wrestler being infatuated with another man, that made a lot of people very uneasy. Apparently, it also made either the script writers or Dustin himself a bit unnerved as well, as years later Dustin would ditch the character in favor of being simply “Dustin Rhodes”. Not only had he changed his name, but his outlook on life; he was now a religious zealout who protested the excessive amounts of boobilage on display by WWF divas such as Sunny and Sable. He began to wear shirts and armbands featuring a popular religious acronym: WWGD? Hey wait…that should be WWJD (What Would Jesus Do)! You mean that this whole thing was a sham, and it was all a setup for his bizarre character to return, with the “G” standing for “Goldust”? Holy crap, that’s lame.
8. Reverend D-Von: The Dudley Boyz (or Team 3-D as they are now called) have long been one of wrestling’s top tag teams. The brothers from a whore of a mother (and don’t blame us, the original ‘family’ also consisted of an Indian and an Asian) have remained popular over the years, no matter what promotion in which they ply their trade. In 2002, however, WWE had decided that their act had become stale and decided to split them up. Bubba Ray headed to Raw, and D-Von was Smackdown bound. While Bubba was pretty much the same loud-mouthed fat man he’d always been, a modern day Brian Knobbs almost, D-Von apparently did some soul searching. Literally. He became Reverend D-Von, wearing the black suit, white collar, the whole nine yards. Even had a church organ play to accompany his jaunt to the ring. And if all that weren’t enough, he had a deacon (Dave Batista in his first ever WWE stint). While this went over like, well, a fart in church, we have to give the guy credit – anybody who’s gutsy enough to hand fans a collection plate is ok with us.
7. Brother Love: Probably the most famous pro wrestling figure ever, Bruce Prichard played the role of Brother Love to the absolute hilt, wearing an all-white suit and sporting bizarre red makeup that we believe was to signify his southern heritage. While he never actually preached the word of God (he preached the word of “Love”), his piped in music, complete with choir, made it pretty clear that he was a parody of televangelists such as Jim Bakker and Jimmy Swaggart who had come under attack during this time. He had a weekly interview segment on WWF television creatively dubbed “The Brother Love Show”, in which he would stand at his pulpit and tell the fans’ heroes how much he loved them (but also that he did not, in fact, like them). Every once in a while, he’d even perform miracles, such as help a lame man walk and a blind man see. While such a gimmick should have had a very short shelf life, Prichard was so good in the role that he was able to parlay what should have been a two-month stay, tops, to a character that was a regular on WWF shows for years. In fact, at one point he even became a manager…
6. The Sisters of Love: …of wrestling nuns, no less. They were dubbed the Sisters of Love, and looked a lot like the Headbangers in drag. This was not quite as well received, and to be frank, the level of satire had dropped from not-quite-clever to real-damn-dumb: one of the sisters’ names was (and get ready to hold your tummy, there’s a real belly laugh coming on) Mother Trucker. Was there ever really any doubt this tandem would last less than a month?
5. Raven Crucifies Sandman: The original incarnation of ECW was a company that pushed limits like nothing that had ever come before. Sex, violence…ECW was anything but your father’s wrestling. It almost made sense that they’d be the first company to really kick down the doors of the church. Come to think of it, with this angle they kicked down the doors, poured gasoline on the pews, and ignited the place with a blow torch. On one side, we have Raven, who was basically a martyr to the level that his signature taunt consisted of him standing mid ring, arms spread as if on a crucifix. On the other, The Sandman, beer drinking, cigarette smoking, hero to the masses. When these two diametrically opposed forces collided, could there be any other result than Raven literally crucifying his foe, tying him to a cross and putting a crown of thorns on his head? And could the reaction, which included even the hardest of hardcore fans, fans who would chant “she’s a crack whore” without batting an eye, vetoing the angle as being too offensive, have been any less in doubt?
4: Friar Ferguson: Another short-lived religious persona, Friar Ferguson was the brainchild of…well, we don’t know. No one has ever admitted to it, and the man who was given the task of being a wrestling monk, Mike Shaw, has never outed the guilty party. While we don’t have a photo of the good friar, he was exactly what you are now picturing in your mind’s eye: brown robe, bald head, sheepskin bag containing his holy water. Water, we should add, that he would splash onto fans at ringside, as he made his way down the aisle with the requisite chants blaring over the loud speaker. Shaw would eventually (and when we say eventually, we mean inside of six weeks) be reborn as Bastion Booger, a character about as far removed from a friar as you can imagine, especially when you factor in the whole “cleanliness=godliness” equation.
3: The Undertaker’s Ministry of Darkness: The Undertaker has always been a figure clouded in darkness. The original persona was something straight out of an Elvira b-movie: an undead zombie who felt no pain. As the character has changed over the years, it probably comes as no shock that he eventually became almost a devil worshipper, eventually creating a church for fellow wrongdoers. It was known as The Ministry of Darkness, and it was truly evil. Amongst their evil acts were kidnappings, crucifixions (which the WWF justified by stating that victims were actually strapped to an Undertaker symbol, not a cross), and cutting guys open to drink their blood. Good, wholesome family fun. But while everyone assumed that the Undertaker was the mastermind behind the whole scene, he soon began to talk of a “higher power” who was giving the Ministry its orders. After months of speculation, the higher power was revealed to be, yep, Vince McMahon. Which, of course, made no sense since he was the main guy the Ministry had been feuding against. Memo to Vince: the adage is God works in mysterious ways, not stupid ways.
2. Shawn Michael’s tag partner: When the real life Shawn Michaels turned over a new leaf and became a born again Christian, it wasn’t hard to understand why. After all, this had been a guy who was known as a boozing, pill popping, ladies man who rubbed damn near everyone in the industry the wrong way at one point or another. But, as of this writing, it would appear that Michaels is true to his word. This did not stop his employer, however, from attempting to exploit Shawn’s new outlook on life, as soon enough the evil Mr. McMahon character began to mock Shawn’s religious beliefs onscreen, going so far as to claim that when he was beating on Shawn, God was nowhere to be found. Shawn claimed God was always by his side, which lead Vince to book a tag match pitting Vince and son Shane against Shawn and his tag team partner, God. And sure enough, when the match came to be, God was indeed announced, heavenly music played, and a spotlight followed an invisible man down to the ring. Sadly, Shawn was pummelled by the McMahons. We view this as proof not that God doesn’t exist, but that, much like the masses who failed to purchase the pay-per-view, he had better things to do on that particular Sunday than watch Vince McMahon wrestle. Can’t blame him for that.
1. Brother Ernest Angel: No doubt many of you are asking just who, exactly, is the man atop our list. It’s not shocking you’ve not heard of Brother Ernest Angel; honestly, before we started doing our research for this list, we hadn’t either. But he predates every character and angle listed, and therefore, we feel is the cause of all of this. A manager in Memphis in 1988, Angel arrived just after the religious scandals, such as Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Bakker, and the PTL, were hitting the evening news. He even carried around The Good Book and would ask for donations. At points, he even proclaimed that those watching at home should place their hands on their television sets so as to feel the power. This infuriated the folks in the Bible belt, to the point that the promotion actually had to have Angel come out on TV and admit he was not a preacher, his alter was actually a podium, and the Good Book he was hitting people with was not, in fact, the Bible. In other words, this guy had tons of heat…and yet, you’ve never heard of him, and he basically made no money for the promotion.
Indeed, God works in mysterious ways.